A visit to the small Alaska Wildlife Museum in Glennallen offers a quick break from the road, along with a few surprises.
The first is – how did owner and designer Tony Loverchio fit so many specimens into a relatively small display area? “Most people can’t believe how much stuff is in the building,” he says. “They’ll see more in that room than they do in their whole time in Alaska.”
From life-sized moose and bear to mountain goats and the rare wolverine, visitors find more than 50 animals on display. They were all locally hunted or trapped over the last 20 years and then preserved by Tony. (He’s spent more than 1,000 hours creating award-winning museum-quality specimens that often show an animal in action, rather than at rest.)
This isn’t your typical museum with creatures staring at you from behind glass, explains Tony. Instead, he displays the animals within Alaskan nature scenes that help people visualize how they act – and interact – in the wild.
This approach, along with 1,000 square feet of painted murals, creates the effect of being right in the wild along with the animals. See a wolf pack as it prepares to bring down a bull moose, or peek in on two fox cuddling together for warmth. The realistic displays lead you from the mountains, through trees and down to a river, complete with salmon, rainbow trout and grayling. (These specimens were molded from real fish and “swim” in a clear, fiberglass resin).
Follow up your tour with a stop at the gift ship, which offers a “Things to Touch” gallery. You can feel horns, antlers and furs from moose, bear, fox, wolf and more. There is also a small selection of wildlife-related items for purchase, so grab a guidebook for the road, a postcard for a friend, or some antler jewelry to complete your outfit.